Healthy Snacks for children and kids
Does eating snacks help you gain weight or lose weight?
January 28 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Healthy snacks are easier to consume if they are present in the house as a substitute for unhealthy snacks. People tend to eat whatever is within easy reaching distance.

Healthy snack options, what to eat
Have vegetables in the kitchen as opposed to pastries or candy. Vegetables provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories than processed snacks. They also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, carotenoids, and flavonoids. Try baby carrots, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, cucumber with added salt, celery stick. Drink vegetables juices rather than soda pops.

Try a small salad dish of mixed beans and peas with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.
Have a ripe tomato or cucumber with salt added for flavoring.

Try whole-grain crackers or whole-wheat tortilla with hummus or nut butter. Whole-grain snacks have fiber and complex carbohydrates. Options include whole-grain crackers, whole-grain pretzels and whole-grain crispbreads.

Have fruits in the kitchen as opposed to sweets, cakes, cookies, and ice cream. Fruits provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories than processed snacks. They also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, carotenoids, and flavonoids. Try a mandarin, a few grapes, a small banana, a kiwi, pear, or peach. Try slices of watermelon combined with feta cheese, a delicious combination. Slice fresh strawberries and add them to a small bowl of unsweetened soy milk with a small amount of pure maple syrup.

A few raw nuts such as almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, and cashews are good to eat. You can eat these raw nuts in combination with dried fruits such as raisins, dates, figs, cranberries, goji berries, dried pineapple, and others. If the dried dried fruits happen to be covered with sugar, you can soak them in water to remove the sugar. I do not suggest eating cooked or heated, roasted nuts since the healthy fatty acids in them can be damaged.

Edamame, or boiled soybean pods, is an excellent healthy snack option.

Buy different types of sprouts, such as alfalfa sprouts, kamut, pea sprouts, soybean sprouts. These sprouts are very healthy snack options.
Make a smoothie with low fat milk, protein powder, and frozen mixed berries and a small piece of banana.
Slice apples and have them with low-fat cheese or feta cheese.
Have string cheese with a small piece of fruit or a few whole-grain crackers.
Add low fat milk to high-fiber dry cereal with a few nuts or seeds and dried fruit. Or, put these nuts and seeds in a baggie for a make-your-own snack pack.
Try a small protein bar with low sugar or carbohydrate content.
Individual packs of carrots, celery sticks, or fruit slices.
Handful of tortilla chips and salsa.
A block or two of dark chocolate, at least 60 percent cocoa.
Visit your local health food store where you will find many new and creative forms of healthy snacks.

Healthy snacks for kids
Half a peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread
Whole-grain granola bars with little sugar that have at least a few grams of fiber
Ants on a log -- celery with nut butter, topped with raisins or other dried fruit

Should you eat snacks or avoid snacks for weight loss?
Apparently, in this study, it made little difference in terms of weight loss whether the subjects snacked or did not snack.

Should snacks be recommended in obesity treatment? A 1-year randomized clinical trial.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007.
To study the effect to recommend no snacks versus three snacks per day on 1-year weight loss. The hypothesis was that it is easier to control energy intake and lose weight if snacks in between meals are omitted. A total of 140 patients (36 men, 104 women), aged 18-60 years and body mass index>30 kg/m(2) were randomized and 93 patients (27 men, 66 women) completed the study. A 1-year randomized intervention trial was conducted with two treatment arms with different eating frequencies; 3 meals/day (3M) or 3 meals and 3 snacks/day (3+3M). The patients received regular and individualized counseling by dieticians. Information on eating patterns, dietary intake, weight and metabolic variables was collected. Over 1 year the 3M group reported a decrease in the number of snacks whereas the 3+3M group reported an increase. Both groups decreased energy intake and E% (energy percent) fat and increased E% protein and fiber intake but there was no differences between the groups. Both groups lost weight, but there was no significant difference in weight loss after 1 year of treatment. Conclusion: Recommending snacks or not between meals does not influence 1-year weight loss.